Women Often Unaware of Their Hospital's Religious Affiliation

Authors say findings have implications for reproductive health care decisions

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THURSDAY, July 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Women of reproductive age are often unaware of their hospital's religious affiliation, according to a study recently published in Contraception.

Jocelyn M. Wascher, from the University of Chicago, and colleagues conducted a national survey of women ages 18 to 45 years to assess what percentage of U.S. women seeking care at Catholic hospitals are aware of their hospital's religious affiliation.

The researchers found that 16 percent of women reported a Catholic hospital as their primary hospital for reproductive care. Nearly two-thirds of respondents whose primary hospital was Catholic correctly identified this, versus 93 percent of women who correctly identified their hospital as non-Catholic. Of women who misidentified their Catholic hospital's affiliation, two-thirds reported that their hospital was secular, with nearly half of these women feeling sure or very sure of their incorrect response. A religious-sounding name (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.80), respondent older age (aOR, 3.77), metropolitan residence (aOR, 3.35), and income over $100,000 (aOR, 4.95) were all factors associated with women correctly identifying Catholic hospitals.

"Efforts are needed to increase hospital transparency and patient awareness of the implications that arise when health care is restricted by religion," the authors write.

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